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U.S. makes plans to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan

By staff |
November 20, 2013
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Minneapolis, MN - On Nov. 20 the U.S. and Afghan governments announced that final language had been agreed to for a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would have U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan until at least 2024.

This agreement will lay the basis for continuing the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan.

Plans are being made to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when the Obama administration had said all U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan. There will also be several thousand NATO forces left in Afghanistan along with the U.S. troops. There likely will be thousands of “contractors” as well.

There is growing opposition in Afghanistan to the agreement.

Tasnim news agency reported that there was a protest in Kabul, Nov. 18, against the agreement. Tasnim reported, “During the demonstration on Monday, the protesters once again expressed opposition to the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement. The participants also called for the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. forces from the country.”

Tasnim reported, “Our Kabul correspondent Fayez Khorshid says public anger is boiling up in Afghanistan over the security pact as people continue to come out in protest of the deal.”

In the city of Jalalabad there was a demonstration on Nov. 17 involving many students against the BSA pact.

NBC News reported, “While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the U.S. is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come and to pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces."

NBC reported, “The document appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan…”

After 12 years of war in Afghanistan, the U.S. has been unable to secure its war aims. The massive opposition to the war in the U.S. and the resistance of the Afghan people to more war and occupation is forcing the U.S. to try and maintain its role in Afghanistan in such a way that the opposition can be lessened.

As Time magazine reported in an online article this week, “...there’s always the chance that delaying the departure of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan will simply delay the inevitable.”

The opposition in Afghanistan to the continued presence of foreign forces is so high that the Karzai regime has had negotiations with the U.S. to make an appearance of standing up for Afghan independence.

The Karzai government made a show of insisting that U.S. troops could be prosecuted under Afghan law and saying that U.S. troops could not raid Afghan homes.

A flurry of phone calls between Karzai and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry John Kerry in the last few days has seemingly come up with language that gives everyone political cover.

The Karzai government has also called for the holding of a Loya Jirga, a Grand Assembly, that is a traditional Afghan gathering of social leaders to discuss issues of national impotence. Karzai has said that the Loya Jirga will discuss the BSA agreement and decide whether to enact it.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “The Loya Jirga, most of whose delegates were selected by provincial authorities, and whose membership list was approved” by Karzai, “is highly unlikely to do anything against the wishes of the Afghan president.”

The students demonstrating against the BSA agreement in Jalalabad were clear in statements they gave to a reporter from Agence France-Presse about their view of the Loya Jirga called by Karzai: “The people of Afghanistan should not sign this agreement,” Shafiullah, a student who uses only one name, said as demonstrators chanted “Death to the U.S.” 

Another student, Habib-Ul Rahman Arab, accused the delegates, most of them hand-picked by President Hamid Karzai’s administration, of being government supporters. 

“They are not our representatives. They are not representatives of the Afghan people,” he said.

U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued a statement Nov. 20 on the announcement of the BSA language agreement. Lee said in her statement, “This revelation is outrageous. The possibility of a military presence into 2024 is unacceptable. After 13 years and more than $778 billion invested” in Afghanistan and “the corrupt Karzai government, it is time to bring our troops and tax dollars home.”

Alan Dale, a member of the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, said, “All opposed to the war should speak out against this plan to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. As long as U.S. troops are in Afghanistan the war will continue. The people of Afghanistan must be free to determine their own future.”